5 Incredible First Ladies Who Played A Huge Part In Shaping Our Country

We know that the president gets a lot of work done, but what’s often unappreciated is the work that goes into being the first lady. Their job isn’t just to look pretty standing next to the president, you know. Heck, some of the first ladies did enough work that they could be called presidents in their own right! Today we’re going to discover five amazing women that took their job as first lady more seriously than anyone ever has. It might be a good idea to take notes.

1. Edith Wilson

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You know you’re the boss when people call you “Madame President.” You see, when her husband, Woodrow Wilson, had a stroke, our girl Edith decided to take over a lot of his duties for him. In doing so, she pretty much ran the executive branch herself, deciding what she could do herself and what was important enough to be sent to her bedridden husband. This was the first time that any first lady ever took presidential roles. Now that’s dedication.

2. Eleanor Roosevelt

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After her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had an affair, Eleanor Roosevelt didn’t let it get her down. She went on to help write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fought against racism and sexism, and even went flying with Amelia Earhart. Also worth mentioning is that, when her husband got polio, Eleanor would appear and give speeches in his place when he was unable to. At the time, she was controversial due to her outspokenness, but her actions helped to shape the role of first lady as it is today. Thanks, Eleanor!

3. Betty Ford

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Betty Ford once said that she was born to be outspoken, and America would be a very different place if she weren’t. Some of the issues she spoke out about include breast cancer (she had a mastectomy), women’s rights, drugs, gun control, and the Equal Rights Amendment.  She also founded the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse, being a recovered addict herself. Keep in mind that this was the 1970s – this lady was ahead of her time!

4. Jackie Kennedy

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She’s known for being John F. Kennedy’s widow, but Jackie did a lot of cool things in her own right. The many parties and events that she hosted helped to bring together many people, from politicians to artists. She also made more foreign appearances than any other first lady had at the time, which helped America gain a lot of support. Even after she was the first lady, she continued to work hard as a book editor despite being widowed twice (her second husband was Aristotle Onassis, who died in 1975). She even edited Michael Jackson’s book, Moonwalk. Cool, right?

5. Michelle Obama

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Michelle Obama is a great example of the modern woman. Not only was she the first African-American first lady, she was also a lawyer that graduated from Princeton and Harvard. She was and still is very outspoken about the issues of poverty and health, even visiting homeless shelters and schools to spread her message, and also campaigned for human rights, especially for women and people of color. She was very active (no pun intended) in politics, and was always outspoken about current issues. In my opinion, that’s what being the first lady is all about.

If you want to see more awesome first ladies, check out this article from Buzzfeed.

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Featured image via WansFilm

Sources: Wikipedia pages for Edith Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty

Ford, Jackie Kennedy, and Michelle Obama